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Kimberly W. Land
(757) 864-9885, 344-8611 (cell)

RELEASE: 02-081

For Release:   Oct. 9, 2002

Crime novelist, Patricia Cornwell, gathers ideas from NASA

Readers know her for the gripping, "edge of the seat" anticipation her books produce. Best-selling author, Patricia Cornwell knows NASA for its cutting-edge research and technology development. This week, she’s looking to NASA’s Langley Research Center for ideas on her next book. During a two-day tour, Oct. 10-11, Cornwell will visit a variety of Langley facilities and get a "sneak-peak" at the research done right here in Hampton, Virginia.

Media Opportunity: An opportunity to see how NASA designs advanced flight systems using artificial intelligence and to interview Ms. Cornwell is scheduled for 1 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 10. Media who wish to attend should contact Kimberly Land at (757) 864-9885 or 344-8611 (mobile), or Kathy Barnstorff at (757) 864-9886 or 344-8511 (mobile) for credentials.

Cornwell has made her name and fortune writing novels in which her alter-ego, medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, nabs killers by studying the forensic evidence they leave behind. She is renowned for her accuracy and expertise, which began when she worked at the Virginia Chief Medical Examiners Office in Richmond, Va.

Using her knowledge of forensic science and medicine, Cornwell has just solved the ‘Jack the Ripper’ cases and in her next book reveals his identity. That book, "Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper, Case Closed" will be available November 11, 2002.

"To reach a higher level of research, for me, is the greatest gift," says Cornwell. "I thank NASA Langley Research Center for this extraordinary opportunity."

NASA researchers and scientists will have the opportunity to "show off" what they do best in the labs and wind tunnels at Langley. Topics will range from virtual reality and artificial intelligence to structures and materials research. "We are extremely excited about Ms. Cornwell’s visit to Langley," say Christine and Celeste Belcastro, both of whom will be giving presentations. "She is one of our favorite novelists because of the technical detail she includes in her novels."

In early September, the author accepted a formal invitation from the Office of Education to visit the Center. NASA research and technology has sparked Cornwell’s interest in the past, some of which has been mentioned in her books.

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